Northern Ireland's deputy first minister Martin McGuinness resigns

11 January, 2017, 00:34 | Author: Lorraine Moran

In a press conference in Belfast, Foster - whose DUP is close to the Conservative British government in London - in turn accused Sinn Fein of playing "high-stakes politics with Northern Ireland's stability".

Once Martin McGuinness' resignation takes effect, under the joint protocols that govern Stormont's power sharing government, First Minister Arlene Foster also loses her office.

Attempts to oust Foster over her handling of the Renewable Heat Initiative - the botched scheme designed while Foster was in charge of energy policy and which saw businesses paid more the more energy they burned - have so far come to nothing.

If Sinn Fein does not nominate a successor to Mr McGuinness by 5pm next Monday (16 January), the devolved government at Stormont ceases to exist. Sinn Féin will not tolerate the arrogance of Arlene Foster and the DUP.

He cited the Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) conduct over the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) scheme scandal as the main reason.

"The equality, mutual respect and all-Ireland approaches enshrined in the Good Friday Agreement have never been fully embraced by the DUP", he wrote.

"But it's because, according to them, they're not getting their own way in a whole series of demands, including rewriting the past and putting more soldiers and security forces in the dock - despite the fact they've just agreed a programme for government in Northern Ireland".

She said: "I am disappointed that Martin McGuinness has chosen to take the position he has today".

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Sources in Dublin say Mr. McGuinness is still considering whether to stand in the expected fresh election to the Northern Ireland Assembly which was triggered by his resignation.

The DUP said it would submit to an inquiry but Foster would not step down.

A Tory former minister claimed recruitment to the UK's armed forces has been hit by investigations into soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.

The DUP leader oversaw the RHI during her time as economy minister.

Mrs Foster had previously rejected calls for her to reisign.

"Her Department had been warned a year before the scheme was set up by energy companies and by the Ulster Farmers Union that there was a need for cost controls and caps on payments".

"We've a very important election here to fight, we will have negotiations, I'll play my full role - hopefully with Martin McGuinness".

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